In Memory

Sister Patricia Tippen, IHM

November 27, 1947 – March 5, 2019

Patricia Tippen, IHM

Sister Patricia Tippen, IHM, (formerly known as Sister M. Dolorita) of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary died on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton, PA.

She was born on November 27, 1941, in Masontown, PA, and given the name Patricia Lee. She was the daughter of the late Edward and Winona Gray Tippen. She entered the IHM Congregation on September 8, 1959, and made her temporary profession of vows on June 27, 1962, and her final profession of vows on June 27, 1967.

Sister Patricia served as a teacher in the following schools: Mother of Mercy High School in Washington, NC, from 1964 to 1969; Notre Dame High School in East Stroudsburg, PA, from 1969 to 1970; St. Rosalia High School in Pittsburgh, PA, from 1970 to 1971; Bishop O’Hara High School in Dunmore, PA, from 1971 to 1974; and Bishop Hoban High School in Wilkes-Barre, PA, from 1976 to 1977.

She also served as dean of students at Marywood College in Scranton, PA, from 1974 to 1976; hospital chaplain at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Carbondale, PA, from 1978 to 1979; core group member at Our Lady of the Lake Spiritual Renewal Center in Verona, NJ, from 1979 to 1986; council member and director of spiritual renewal for the IHM Congregation in Scranton, PA, from 1986 to 1994; core group member at IHM Spiritual Renewal Center in Cresco, PA, from 1994 to 1998; director of formation for IHM Congregation in Scranton, PA, from 1998 to 2000; pastoral associate at St. Mary Parish in East Islip, NY, from 2000 to 2018; and spiritual director in East Islip, NY, from 2018 to 2019.

From 2019 until the time of her death, Sister Patricia was a prayer minister at Our Lady of Peace Residence in Scranton.

She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in science/mathematics from Marywood College, a Master of Science degree in science from Syracuse University, and a Master of Science degree in spirituality/spiritual direction from Fordham University.

She is preceded in death by a sister, Sister Cecilia Marie Tippen, IHM.

She is survived by a brother, Edward, of Masontown, PA; her dear friend, Sister Ann Marie Pierce, IHM; and by the members of the IHM Congregation.

The funeral will be Friday, March 8, at 11:00 a.m. with Mass of Christian Burial at the IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue in Scranton. Friends may call at the IHM Center on Thursday, March 7, between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. A prayer service will be held at 4:00 p.m. at the IHM Center. Interment will follow Mass on Friday at St. Catherine’s Cemetery in Moscow, PA.

Memorial contributions may be made to support the retired IHM Sisters c/o the IHM Sisters Retirement Fund, IHM Center, 2300 Adams Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509.



Reprinted from “In Memoriam” section of Journey, Spring 2019 issue
Reflection given by Sister Ellen Maroney, IHM Congregation President

Sister Patricia Tippen, Funeral March 8, 2019

In the leaving, in the letting go,
let there be this to
hold onto at the last:
the enduring love,
the persisting of hope,
the remembering of joy,
the offering of gratitude,
the receiving of grace,
the blessing of peace.
(In the Leaving by Jan Richardson)

These words are from artist and author Jan Richardson and could easily have been written about Patty, for they are a fitting description of how she blessed us with her remarkable life. Listen again: enduring love, persisting hope, joy, gratitude, grace, peace. Isn’t that Patty? I read once that there are born among us great individuals who will change their whole world—people like Alexander the Great or Albert Schweitzer, for example, who reach great heights that seem impossible for the rest of us to even dream of reaching. But they exist on a pedestal, far removed from our daily lives, too far for us to
think of them as real models for our daily lives. But there are those Good (with a capital G) people who walk among us every day and leave large footprints on our hearts and souls that forever change us at our deepest level and will never leave us. Patty was that kind of person, captured so beautifully by Trish yesterday in the song, “Ordinary Holiness”—two words we don’t usually put together, but yet fit her perfectly.

We saw Patty every day, going about her daily routine, along with the rest of us. But it wasn’t so much what she did, but how she lived each day that taught us about genuine ordinary holiness. Yesterday, as we shared some wonderful stories about her during the wake service, the words captured some of the measure of her impact on us and all those she met. We knew her as sister, teacher, dean, chaplain, spiritual director, pastoral associate, mentor, counselor, and so much more, but most of all, as friend. She loved life and enjoyed it to the hilt and helped us to find some of that true joy. She lived and spoke the truth, as she knew it, even when we might not want to hear it, but always with love. Patty never sought personal accolades or attention and was humbled by the gratitude she received from so many whose lives she touched. Perhaps that’s what really made her so special to us. Her focus was never on herself, but always on the other. People mattered deeply to her, and they knew it. She relished these relationships and encounters because she reminded us that that’s where she found God too.

Patty’s gentle, thoughtful, and nonjudgmental presence and words could quickly bring a group or even a meeting room full of people to quiet listening and reflection. Her simple but profound question, “Where is God in this?” moved us into that deep place of contemplation beyond our personal agendas or desires. Someone remarked to me yesterday that many viewed Patty as one of the giants of our IHM congregation (something I think Patty would immediately deny) and I think that it’s true, not because of any great achievements or accolades, but because she was in many ways the very soul of our congregation. She called us to something beyond our personal and collective selves, challenged us to something profoundly holy, something surely of God.

We are already missing Patty, but we rejoice that she is now at home with her God and enjoying eternal life with her parents, Winona and Edward, and her beloved sister, Ceil, who are now reunited with her. Can you imagine Patty’s smile last Tuesday when she arrived in heaven and met the God she loved so deeply face to face? I think by now, though, she has already arranged meetings with Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Theresa Maxis, and others to ask them why they wrote that particular sentence or what they really meant by this thought, or why they did that. And don’t think she hasn’t already arranged and been dancing in the heavenly aisles at several Neil Diamond concerts with her Guinness in hand! I’m not sure even God was prepared for that!

Our prayers today are with her brother, Eddie, and her cherished friend, Ann Marie, and their families. We pray too for her band and mission circle members, her IHM sisters, especially the sisters in the OLP Household 2B who so caringly shared their presence and prayers with Patty these past few weeks, her beloved co-workers and friends at St. Mary’s parish, and all who knew and loved her.

Patty’s presence among us challenged and encouraged us, stretched and comforted us. Her compassion for others softened our hearts; her searching for life’s meaning drew us in and ever closer to the God in whom she had absolute trust. We are forever changed and forever grateful because she was in our lives. Yes, there is a real sense of loss, a quiet sadness that moves through us today, though through our faith and Patty’s example, we will begin to remember not just that Patty died, but that she lived, and her life brought us closer to God and gave us memories too beautiful to forget. I mentioned how Patty touched our lives in many ways but especially as a friend. Eddie and Ann Marie were blessed by that wonderful friendship for over 70 and 40 years respectively and we wrap them in our love today very specially. I read a reflection by author and presenter, Melanie Svoboda, SND, the other day and adapted it a bit to capture our gratitude for Patty’s holy life:

We called you friend, for you were
healing for us. You listened to all we
had to say and, in so doing, we were
made more whole.
We called you friend, for you were
a priceless gift for us, one we did not
earn, but one we received with wonder,
joy, and gratitude.
We called you friend, for you
allowed us to be our true selves.
Because of you, we are more of whom
we want to be.
We called you friend. In part, we
were alike, sharing deep values we
seldom had to articulate. In part, we
were different, and our differences
broadened our perspectives, spurred
our growth, and, yes, at times, honed
our patience.
We called you friend, for you
encouraged us not merely by your
words, but by the example of your
own strivings, questionings, and
We called you friend. You were
our cheerleader, rousing us to stay
in the game of life. You were our
ground control, confirming where we
were and where we were headed.
We called you friend.

Loving God, we give you our gratitude for this extraordinary life of ordinary holiness and pray that perpetual light and happiness will shine upon her for all eternity and we pray that we may continue to follow her loving footprints.

I now invite Ann Marie to place the scriptures on Patty’s casket, for indeed she heard the Word of God, she staked her life upon it and received life to the full… the Word now beckons Patty home.

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